When it outgrew its previous offices, the team at BNP Paribas Real Estate in the Netherlands decided to re-evaluate what it wanted from its premises. “We agreed that our office should not only be a stimulating environment but also reflect our image and identity”, explains Alexander Ververgaert, COO of BNP Paribas Real Estate in Amsterdam, “which meant the design had to immediately express who we are and what we are capable of”. BNP Paribas Real Estate chose a period low-rise building at the entrance of the South Axis, the most prestigious business district in The Netherlands. Its interior is a showcase of creative architecture, consisting of an industrial-style open space finished with an immaculate attention to detail. “The building is just like us as a team: we’re not ostentatious on the outside, but when you start working with us, you’ll immediately see our high level of quality and attention to detail”, explains Alexander.
The open plan structure of the office is designed around an archipelago or group of islands. The idea is that each business line represents an island, but that all the islands are connected together because of the archipelago configuration. In this way, each team member can easily work within their own business line – and across other business lines.
This matrix-like structure encourages cross-selling. Members of different business lines can get together at the office’s numerous secondary work facilities: long wooden tables and benches, cosy corners and comfy break-out areas. The layout actively encourages teams to think outside their own business line and create synergies. It also consolidates the company’s horizontal management. Board members do not have separate offices, but are on the same floor as everyone else.
Making the team feel at home
The result of this organisation is not just a more efficient workplace; “Employee wellbeing is at the heart of our concept”, explains Alexander. “By working in a stimulating environment where they feel at home, our people are quite simply more efficient.”
To create a softer, warmer atmosphere, the office features noise reduction material and uses special lighting that resembles daylight.
In addition to boosting the team’s working performance, the new office is a prime marketing tool for clients. “We try to organise client meetings here as much as possible”, says Alexander, “because it’s the best way to show them what we can offer their company”. As soon as they enter the premises, clients are struck by the difference from regular offices. “They feel the energy and immediately see our people are happy in their work”, explains Alexander, “and that is the best kind of marketing tool there is.”
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Photographer: Jansje Klazinga
Styling & production: Emmy van Dantzig
Design: Martijn Veldman